Saturday, February 20, 2016

Forty-five Hours

Grandma Ruth's blanket waiting for baby Chase.

Dave described the waiting room in the maternity ward at UCSF as “crowded.” Outside a short partition with a shrub on one side and an open corridor on the other had offered him some privacy as he leaned against a connecting wall and fell asleep.
He tells me now my foul mood chased him out of the delivery room. I’m sure I complained plenty about my uncomfortable position and my lack of laborious progress due to the steroid medicine coursing through my veins. I remember distinctly he uttered these words. “It can’t be that bad.”
I forgive myself now for whatever unpleasant outburst I snapped back at him in reply. Nurses—I’m certain they overheard me—tsk-tsked my behavior but kept their forced smiles as they went about their business of keeping me in check. I didn’t care. This was about mid-point in my forty-five-hour birthing process. I felt sorry for myself and I was tired.
Tired of hearing, “Your cervix is not dilated enough yet Mrs. Toboni.”
I had been a handful. “Could you find my husband? Can you help me roll over? How much longer? I need the bathroom again.” I looked forward to this last activity, hoping my child would drop into the toilet. Of course then I’d rescue him. Or would I? All kidding aside, I was scared. I kept trying to comfort myself with the reassuring words from my doctor, back in Napa—the one who couldn’t be here because he was on vacation. Women have been delivering babies since the beginning of time. You have nothing to worry about.
I had plenty to worry about. Did those women have preemies? How small is too small before there are problems? What if I smother my baby while I’m rolling around?
“Please try to stay calm, Mrs. Toboni.” I heard over and over again. At this point I am feeling achy, and there are twinges, but little else.
“Don’t push,” the doctor ordered. I wanted to push. I was anxious to practice my new breathing technique that I had learned in my first prenatal class. There had been no time for a second class. You’re too early baby!
The sonogram had confirmed our baby was a boy. Dave and I had agreed on the name, Chase. As I counted the minutes and hours, I watched the baby monitor. Chase Martin Toboni, I silently told him, I love you. You’re going to be perfect.

3 comments: said...

I love this post. The universal plight of women in labor, whether as scheduled or premature, is captured in this perfect piece of writing.

Barbara Toboni said...

Wow. Thanks, Patsy. You made my day!

Amber Lea Starfire said...

Barbara, you have managed to create a snapshot of the birthing process -- the chaos, uncertainty, pain, and unpleasantness -- with your usual infusion of humor. The end is so sweet, and so right. And he was perfect, wasn't he?